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Archive for March, 2010

Cesar Chavez was born 83 years ago today.  He left us nearly 17 years ago.  He got his own postage stamp back in 2003 or seven cents ago.

Commentary will be checking out the H-Town City Council meeting today on the municipal tube to see what kind of discussion goes on about selling The Summit, err Compaq Center, err Lakewood Mega Church for $7.5 mil.  The Chron’s E-Board put out their take today.  Check it out.

In the editorial, the Chron quotes a letter from a reader:  “If it was a bad deal, it was struck during the (Mayor Lee) Brown administration. This is now. We should be happy to get the church to buy it.”

It would be nice if the Chron’s E-Board or news staff would say why it was a “bad deal.”  Maybe someone at the council meeting will ‘splain why it was a bad deal.

Council will also consider today the H-Town Mayor’s Houston METRO appointments.  If they are approved, the new posse, err appointees will start the process to run-off the agency’s beleaguered CEO.  Stay tuned!

Council will also take up the City of H-Town’s part of the Downtown Soccer Stadium deal.  Way to go Mayor and CM James Rodriguez!

Of all the current MLB cities, name the burg that the ‘Stros have never played in?

Hutch will also make her decision today – maybe.  She will announce her quitting day, change her mind and say she will stay through the end of her term, or declare that she will seek another term – highly unlikely but you never know with her in light of the fact that she suffered the equivalent of a three or four political concussions this past year and that she just might not be thinking clearly these days.

The head of the U.S. Census called out H-Town yesterday for lagging in returning 2010 Census forms while at the same time ICE was planning new raids.  I think the census big shot should be calling out ICE if you ask me.

Fifteen years ago today we lost Selena.  She would be 39 if she was still around.

The H-Town Mayor will also announce her new Police Chief today.  Of course everyone knows who it will be.

My Best Friend called me yesterday to let me know that his grand daughter’s name is Sofia Luna Schnieders!  I think he’s cool with the idea that “Luna” got middle name status.

The ‘Stros have never played in Toronto of course as the Blue Jays visit the ‘Stros this Friday and Saturday for our final two Spring Training games.

A now for the not so good news – The Big Puma will start the season on the disabled list – drats – because of his knee – double drats!   The ‘Stros’ Fan Fest will be held this Friday and Saturday at The Yard!

Commentary just noticed that my ‘Stros calendar ends today and I checked out the giveaway schedule and calendars are not on the list.  I don’t know about that.

 

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Commentary has to hand it to H-Town’s Mayor for making the tough decisions.  Facing a serious budget shortfall, the Mayor is proposing increasing the health insurance premiums of retired city employees – ouch!  Check out today’s Chron story.

What are the alternatives?  Layoffs or furloughs? Raising property taxes? Cutting services.  Increasing certain fees?  Installing more red light cameras?

I think they need to look at an ordinance banning cell phone usage and texting while driving.   What’s the hold-up?  They better do it before the state steps in and do it first and gets first dibs on the revenue that will be generated.

Congrats go this morning to my niece Linda (a hot shot South Texas prosecutor) and her hubby Silverio for having their fourth young one yesterday – Andres Antonio.

Congrats also go to My Best Friend Al Luna and wife Julie for becoming grandparents as my God Daughter Lisette and hubby Mike Schnieders welcomed Sophia this morning. 

Commentary will make sure that Andres Antonio and Sophia are on the voter rolls this November joining Dante, J. Dominic, Lucas and Jake.

Hey, I hope Linda/Silverio and Lisette/Mike haven’t turned in their census forms yet.  We need every Latino and Latina we can get.

Ten years ago today, what was the big happening in H-Town?

Speaking of, the Chron also has a piece on census forms being returned, err not returned in H-Town.   Check it out.

Meyerland has a 47% return rate.  Piney Point has a 25% return rate.  Gulfton has an 8% return rate – yikes!  Immigration reform activist Cesar Espinosa who kind of forecasted a dismal return rate among Latinos is headquartered in Gulfton.  What did you expect? 

If we’re not careful, low Latino participation with the census could translate into low Latino voter participation this November.

From an AP story yesterday: “The Washington Nationals say President Barack Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team’s opening day game April 5 against the Philadelphia Phillies. 

The team says Monday it will mark the 100th anniversary of the first time a president tossed an opening day first pitch — William Howard Taft did it on April 14, 1910. It also will be the first time Obama attends a game at Nationals Park.”

Ten years ago today of course, The Yard officially opened with an exhibition game against the Yankees.  Commentary was there of course to watch Ricky Ledee of the Yankees smack the first ever Yard dinger.  It was a beautiful night as MLB changed forever in H-Town. Way to go to Drayton and Pam-In-charge and all the rest of the folks over at The Yard!

Well it looks like Jason Castro won’t in the starting line-up on Opening Day as the ‘Stros have elected to go with J.R. Towles and Humberto Quintero behind the plate.  I guess they know what they are doing.  I don’t know how many chances Towles gets so stay tuned for sure.

 

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Apparently, the Lone Star State, Harris County, H-Town, and local Latinos are lagging behind the rest of the U.S. of A. on returning 2010 census forms.  Well what did they expect?

Check out what was in Saturday’s Chron:  “As of Friday afternoon, only 27 percent of Texas households had filled in and returned their census forms — well below the national average of 34 percent — according to computer data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In Harris County, the response rate is 23 percent. Houston’s returns are running at 21 percent.”   Here’s the story.

For the past 15 months, Guv Dude, GOP members of congress from the Lone Star state, and the GOP have gone around the state demonizing the federal government so of course you are going to get push back on folks taking a few minutes to fill out the census form.  Heck some folks might be protesting of sorts.

Last year, local immigration reform activist Cesar Espinosa and H-Town City Council Member James Rodriguez warned local city and law enforcement officials not to cozy up with ICE and all that 287(g) stuff because one of the outcomes would be Latinos not feeling comfortable filling out their census forms.  But no, it was more politically macho to bang around on paperless folks.  I hate to say it, but Cesar and CM James told you so!

Plus, let’s not forget that paperless folks have been used as a political piñata throughout the U.S. of A. for the past decade.  It doesn’t look too good for decent Latino participation in the 2010 census. 

Cy Young was born 143 years ago today.  Of course, he’s no longer in the starting rotation these days.   Who are the only ‘Stros to ever be Cy Young Award winners?

Commentary checked out on the tube Former Governor Palin campaigning in Arizona for her former boss last Friday.  She then went to Searchlight, Nevada Saturday to campaign against Majority Leader Reid. She was in the Lone Star State last month to campaign for Dude.  She’s going to get her own TV show that pays her $1 mil per episode.  She’s still signing books.  She’s having the time of her life.

In terms of GOP star power, there is Former Governor Palin and then there is the rest of the GOP bunch.  Heck, she’s is their Obama.  She will be the most covered GOPer in 2010 even though she won’t be on the ballot – go figure!

Mike Scott in 1986 and The Rocket in 2004 of course.

MLB finally comes to The Yard this week as the ‘Stros host the Jays for two spring training games Friday night and Saturday afternoon!  Meanwhile, the ‘Stros will be deciding this week which 25 players will be wearing the brick red on Opening Day – a week from today!

 

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Who was the ‘Stros Opening Day pitcher in 2000, the year we first wore the brick red?

Commentary doesn’t think the case has been made to tinker with H-Town’s City Council term limits.  At last night’s meeting only one person got up to speak during the public session.   Less than a handful of folks showed up if you don’t count the Term Limits Review Commission members and some staff.

Last night’s meeting was the third that has allowed the public to give their three cents worth.  Commentary has been to all three and I haven’t seen leaders from either political party, no labor folks, none of the Dem Party groups that endorse in city races, no GLBTers, aside from the engineers, none of the other interests groups that get involved in city races like realtors, apartment owners, home builders, and business PACS, no media members, and none of the online opinion givers.  A few from the mover-and-shaker crowd, a couple of super neighborhood types, a few civic leaders, a couple of elected officials, a couple of former elected officials, and a few others have weighed in.  So far it looks like there is not a whole lot of public interest to change or not to change the current system.

At last night’s meeting the only speaker was a fella named Larry Lane (I think) who supported 2 2-year terms for total city service meaning if you served two terms on council, you couldn’t run for mayor or controller.  You could serve one term on council and run for mayor or controller but could only serve one term in either.  When asked if 2 terms was enough to give council members experience to grasp city issues, he said “serving on council isn’t rocket science.”

Rice University’s Dr. Bob Stein, a Commission member, had his staff/students present some interesting research on H-Town’s term limits.  They reported that since term limits have gone into effect city council has become more diverse, and there have been more minority and women candidates for city council.

Dr. Stein also talked about past polling in H-Town on term limits and pretty much said that the more educated supported the current term limits system and also got more support from GOPers (60%) than Dems (48%).  Anglos (58%) and Latinos (55%) also tended to be more in favor of term limits over African Americans (48%).

The folks that serve on the Term Limits Review Commission are an impressive bunch.  I’d have them on my team any day but they have kind of a thankless task.  By July 1, they have to come up with a recommendation.   As I left the meeting (it was getting past my bedtime) they were discussing a poll they were going to put in to the field that asks about the current system, 2 4-year terms, or two 3 year terms. I don’t know about that.

It seems like a whole lot of something for nothing if you get my drift.  Stay tuned!

Shane Reynolds of course when we opened on the road against the Pirates on April 4, 2000 in Three Rivers Stadium is also celebrating his 42nd BD today.  Happy Birthday to Shane Reynolds who had five straight Opening Day starts (1996-2000) as a ‘Stro!

For the ‘Stros first weekday day game this season on Wednesday, April 7 versus the Giants at 1 pm, they are calling it the “9 Inning Lunch Break” with a package that includes one (1) Field Box ticket and $20 in Minute Maid Park food and beverage vouchers. A $59 value for only $40!  Since I already have my ticket that cost me $39, I wonder if I can hand over a buck and pick up my $20 grub voucher.

 

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The fallout from Sunday’s health care reform vote includes threats being made to Dem members of Congress that voted yes.  The media has been playing the recordings of some of the threatening phone calls – yikes!  Who is to blame?

I think it is a sign of the times and that’s too bad.  With 24-7 cable news, twitters, Facebooks, internet, emails, talking points, photo shop, and all this new media and gadget stuff, it is a lot easier to get folks riled up. 

Some folks said yesterday that the leadership in DC from both parties ought to stand together in some sort of photo op and ask folks across the U.S. of A. to be more civil.  Even if they did that, it is not going to stop the Glenn Peckers and Rush Limblows from spewing their hate.  Remember, they get paid to promote hate.  Unfortunately, we just have to live with this these days.

Just wait until they take up immigration reform – double yikes!

This season the ‘Stros will be celebrating 45 years as ‘Stros when we first started being ‘Stros in 1965 – get it.  Who represented the ‘Stros in the 1965 MLB All Star Game and where was it played?

Commentary will be attending tonight’s meeting of H-Town’s Term Limits Review Commission at 7 pm at City Hall.  Let’s see who shows up tonight.  Of course, when the Commission finally makes a recommendation sometime this June, all kinds of folks are going to open their pieholes and offer their three cents.  I’m betting that most of those that opine never make it to a Commission meeting.

I’m telling you, you are missing out on hearing what folks think about how the city is run.  It has been a very informative civics lesson.  Be there or else!

Pitcher Turk Farrell of course represented us in Bloomington, Minnesota in 1965.

They still read Commentary at The Yard for sure.  Here’s what I said last week:  “This season at The Yard, the ‘Stros will be commemorating their 45th season as ‘Stros – get it!    We were the Colt ‘45s in 1962 but became ‘Stros when we moved to the Dome in 1965. On Saturday, April 10 when we play the Phillies at The Yard, both teams will be wearing their 1965 uniforms – cool!  I wonder if they will have 1965 concession prices for grub.”

Here’s what The Yard put out this week:  “As part of the April 10 anniversary celebration, the Astros have set aside 1,965 tickets in the View Deck II and Outfield Deck sections to be offered at $3.50, which is the same as the 1965 price of Astrodome tickets for box seats and several upper level sections. This special pricing is only available online at http://www.astros.com while supplies last. Special pricing for food and beverages will be offered as well, including $1.00 hot dogs, compliments of Classic Foods, and $1.00 Coca-Cola Classic fountain sodas (while supplies last).”

Of course, St. Arnold wasn’t around in 1965 so their price won’t be discounted.

 

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First of all let me say Commentary isn’t a soccer fan – sorry.  I’ve never been to a Dynamo game and it is not on my things to do list.  I think I’ve watched a couple or so World Cup games on the tube.  That being said I do support those that are trying to get a Downtown Soccer Stadium built next to The Yard because I think it is good for H-Town and H-Town’s East Downtown. 

After being stuck in the ditch for the past year or so, The H-Town Mayor has gotten the stadium negotiations moving to a point where the H-Town City Council will vote on final parts of the deal next Wednesday.  Here’s what CM James Rodriguez said on Chron.com:  “I’m really excited to see we’re moving forward.  What we have here is a transparent road map.”

If built, the soccer stadium will be located in Rodriguez’ District I.

You have to hand it to The H-Town Mayor for taking charge on this issue.

The Chron has a front page piece on the stadium deal and the Chron’s Columnist also weighs in.   Potential deal reached on Dynamo.   and   Soccer and El Franco Lee territory.

Here’s what former taxman Paul Bettencourt had to say:  “This type of stuff should go up for public vote.  Public policy would be better served by a public vote.”

This fella is just itching to get back out there and be against stuff.

Here’s what the Chron’s Columnist says:  “Serious economists will tell you that stadiums and arenas don’t generate much new development.”

I don’t know about that. If my pal Drayton and The Dean hadn’t made sure that The Yard was built Downtown, I wonder what that part of Downtown would look like today.

The Inn at the Ballpark wouldn’t be there.  Same for Vic and Anthony’s and maybe The Alden and maybe Discovery Green and maybe all the housing east of Highway 59 and maybe that Park One high rise and maybe the Home Plate Grill and Lucky’s and The Bus.  It is still a work in progress for sure but The Yard created development and that you can take to the bank.

The Chron’s Columnist also says that The Yard only guarantees 81 events.  Oh yeah!  It is actually 83.

‘Stros catchers J.R. Towles and Jason Castro are competing for the starting job.  Where were they drafted out of? 

Being the VP of the US of A is a big f__king deal because you get to use the bad arse “f__k” word just like Little Dick Cheney did when he called Sen. Pat Leahy a “mother f___er” on the Senate floor a few years back so what’s the big f__king deal anyway.

Towles out of Collin County Community College and Castro out of Stanford of course.

From the ‘Stros for Opening Day:  “The game’s ceremonial first pitches will be thrown out by members of an upcoming NASA space shuttle mission, recreating the inaugural ceremonial first pitch at the Astrodome in April 1965 thrown by 22 Mercury astronauts.”

How about that!

 

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A day after getting their arses run on health care reform, GOP leaders said they would not be cooperating on issues like Guantanamo, immigration, and financial services.  That’s a gamble they take if they refuse to work with Dems.  On the immigration reform front, this will just anger Latino voters (of course it will not matter if the Dem Party doesn’t implement a Latino voter engagement strategy).  It is going to be difficult for the GOP to sustain a noncooperation strategy over the next seven months. 

Meanwhile, Lubbock GOP Congressman Randy Neugebauer got him his 15 minutes of fame yesterday. 

Partisanship has gotten so bad that the GOP can’t even acknowledge who got scoreboard.  They can’t even be good sports and shake hands. 

From the Separation of Church and State Department, Lakewood Mega Church will buy The Summit, err Compaq Center, err Lakewood Mega Church they’ve been renting from the City of H-Town for $7.5 mil.  The Summit originally opened in 1975 at a then hefty price of $27 mil to build.  After Toyota Center opened in 2003, we turned it over to the Lakewood Church for around $11.8 mil in prepaid rent.  Lakewood put in $75 mill in renovations.  So a building that we paid $27 mil to build 35 years ago, we’re getting $19.5 mil.  I wonder if we would have gotten a better deal if we had just sold them the building back in 2003.  I guess we’ll hear that the $7.5 mil is a good deal in light of the fact that the City is hard up for cashola these days.

When Roy O stepped on the mound for his first Opening Day start at The Yard on April 1, 2003 versus the Rockies he had what ‘Stros starters on the field behind him that day that will be wearing the brick red on Monday, April 5 versus the Giants?

An H-Town City Council Committee will meet today and get a briefing and progress report on the Downtown Soccer Stadium. 

I was checking out this season’s schedule and found that there are eight 1 pm start times on weekdays at The Yard.  Wednesday, April 7 (Giants), Thursday, June 3 (Nats), Thursday, June 24 (Giants), Thursday, July 8 (Pirates), Wednesday, July 28 (Cubbies), Wednesday, August 11 (The ATL), Wednesday, September 1 (San Luis), and Wednesday, September 15 (The Brew Crew).  There is also a 1 pm start on Monday, May 31 (Nats) but that’s Memorial Day.  I think I’ll be able to handle the schedule.

Geoff Blum at third base back them and The Big Puma in left field back then of course.  If The Big Puma’s knee doesn’t get better soon, Blum might get to start at first base.

According to the ‘Stros, on Opening Day, “the National Anthem will be sung by Texas Country Music artist, Jack Ingram.  A Houston-area native, Ingram has won multiple awards including the 2008 Academy of Country Music Top New Male Vocalist Award.”

 

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This past weekend’s health care reform debate on CNN was definitely must see TV.  It was historical and dramatic as vote Numero 216 flashed on the screen at 9:45 pm local time last night.  I actually think last night’s vote will help Dems this November.  Many were writing off Dems the day after the Massachusetts Massacre.  I think I said that it would be turned around if The President took control.  He did and Dems are better off.

Speaking of November, the Chron has a front page story on Guv Dude versus The Former H-Town Mayor and their vulnerabilities on spending and budget cutting.  It is an interesting piece in that it points out that they pretty much are vulnerable on the same things.  Check it out. 

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, The Former H-Town Mayor released his tax returns for last year but not for his other five years as Mayor.  In the Chron piece on the release, SMU political scientist Cal Jillson said sooner or later The Former Mayor will cough them up.  Jillson said “most candidates for high office release five years of tax returns.  The question is how much blood is exacted from him before he decides to do that.”

Stay tuned!

This past weekend the ‘Stros announced that Roy O would be the starting pitcher on Opening Day, making this Roy O’s eighth straight Opening Day start.  Who was the first team Roy O faced on his Opening Day debut?

Commentary has been doing a little house cleaning and came across Time Magazine’s 1996 pre GOP national convention issue and they had a two page spread on the Rising GOPers.  Here’s who they named back in 1996:

Utah’s Governor Michael Leavitt ended up serving in 43’s Cabinet at the EPA and Health and Human Services.

Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith ran a couple of unsuccessful statewide races in Indiana and ended up being appointed by 43 to Chair the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Kansas U.S. Senatorial candidate Sam Brownback won and is now retiring and running for Kansas governor.

California A.G Dan Lungren is now in Congress.

Ohio Treasurer Kenneth Blackwell ended up being Ohio’s Secretary of State and ran unsuccessfully for governor and RNC Chair.  He is still hanging around somewhere.

Ohio Congressman John Kasich was Newt’s Budget Chair and left congress in 2000, thought about running for Prez in 2000, didn’t and is now running for Governor of Ohio.

San Diego Mayor Susan Golding ran unsuccessfully for higher office and still lives in San Diego.

Oklahoma Congressman Steve Largent ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002.

New York Congresswoman Susan Molinari resigned in 1997 to go work for CBS but that didn’t work out and now does lobbying.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry has probably become the most notable and influential of the 1996 Time Magazine Rising GOPers as he has now achieved the status of Guv Dude.

In this past weekend’s Star Telegram, there is a piece about Latinos in Fort Worth wanting to name a street after Cesar Chavez.  Here’s what a Latino leader says:  "Cesar Chavez is a hero to the Hispanic community.  He is our Martin Luther King. We need to be promoting individuals like that."

I don’t know about that.

Also this past weekend, it looks like the City of H-Town won’t catch the fire station graffiti writer thanks to a rinky-dink Keystone Kops style investigation that was conducted by the city.  Way to go!

Roy O of course beat the Rockies (10-4) on April 1, 2003 at The Yard.  The opposing starter was a fella named Jason Jennings who we sent to the showers after four innings after he gave up a dinger to Jeff Kent and two dingers to Jeff Bagwell.  Four years later the ‘Stros traded for Jennings – huh!

 

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The H-Town Mayor announced her appointees to the METRO Board yesterday and included a first.  Gilbert Garcia will serve as the first ever Latino METRO Board Chair.  It’s about time.  Way to go Mayor!

Her other METRO Board appointees include Allen Dale Watson, Dwight E. Jefferson, Carrin Patman, and Christof Spieler.

Next time you see The Mayor, give her the knuckle bump, un abrazo, a high five, tell her muchas gracias, or offer her a cerveza!

What MLB player stole seven bases in consecutive World Seriouses?

Quien es mas macho – Guv Dude o Former H-Town Mayor? In a back and forth yesterday carried on Chron.com, it looks like both candidates are racing to get more border security.  If this keeps up, by the time November rolls around they’ll have tanks, land mines, drones, choppers, the cavalry, posses, Mini Men, Patriot Missiles, Special Forces, and the Texas Rangers gunning down folks trying to get to H-Town to mow my lawn – great!

“Born on a mountain top in Tennessee,

“Greenest state in the Land of the Free,

“Raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree,

“Kilt him a b’ar when he was only three.

“Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier!”

If you are of Commentary’s age, you know the song and you know that Fess Parker played Davy Crockett in the Walt Disney productions way back then.  Fess Parker left us yesterday.

Lou Brock of course of San Luis in ’67 against the Red Sox and in ’68 against the Tigers.

According to Tag’s Line, here is who he thinks will be on the roster on Opening Day:

CATCHERS (2) J.R. Towles and  Humberto Quintero,  INFIELDERS (6) , Geoff Blum , Kaz Matsui, Tommy Manzella, Pedro Feliz, Jeff Keppinger, and Edwin Maysonet (The Big Puma won’t be ready), OUTFIELDERS (5) Carlos Lee, Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Jason Michaels, and Cory Sullivan,  ROTATION (5)Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez,  Brett Myers, Bud Norris, and Felipe Paulino, RELIEF PITCHERS (7) Matt Lindstrom, Brandon Lyon, Jeff Fulchino, Brian Moehler, Chris Sampson, Tim Byrdak,  and Alberto Arias.  Stay tuned!

 

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The Former H-Town Mayor got another story in today’s Chron that he probably didn’t want to see.  Check it out.   It has only been 16 days since the March 2 Primary and already Guv Dude’s campaign has had a few juicy morsels handed to them. 

On another front, the H-Town Mayor is supposed to announce her METRO appointments today.   Usually when new METRO appointees are announced, the media will ask them if they ever ride the METRO bus, ride the light rail, have a METROpass, or use the park and ride.  You want to bet on this?

What is higher – the President’s salary or the minimum salary for a Major League Baseball player?

Speaking of, right after the Massachusetts Massacre earlier this year, Commentary pleaded for The President to take charge and it looks like he did as we are nearing a winning vote on health care reform and GOP leaders are crying for a technical foul.

Remember when GOP members of Congress from the Lone Star State were crying and saying that The President had it in for the Lone Star State and they pointed to the Sealy plant and the Constellation Project.  Hey, on his NCAA bracket, The President has A&M and Baylor making the Sweet Sixteen so shut up and quit crying.

The two GOP U.S. Senators from the Lone Star State have invited The President to tour the border.  Before The President accepts the invite, he ought to ask the Senators to let him have a few U.S. Attorneys first.

Tie goes to the runner as they say.  The President makes $400,000 and the Major League Baseball minimum salary for a player is $400,000. 

On Opening Day at The Yard on Monday, April 5, as part of the pregame festivities, some former Navy SEALS will parachute on to the field – cool! 

 

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